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Aleksanteri Conference







Cold War mediators and travellers across the Iron Curtain

Distinct and antagonistic as the two sides of the Iron Curtain were toward each other at various points in the Cold War, the Iron Curtain was hardly impenetrable: people, physical materiel, and ideas traveled in both directions, often in iterated stages. The goal of this panel is to explore concepts and categories appropriate for the historical analysis of this type of engagement across the Iron Curtain: whether we as scholars refer to "exchanges," "transfers," or "networks," we can agree that scientists, religious intellectuals, artists and writers, and other groups on both sides of the Iron Curtain made and in many cases maintained contact throughout the Cold War.

Piotr H. Kosicki's paper explores the travels of politically engaged Catholic intellectuals between Poland and various countries in Western Europe, from both sides of the Iron Curtain. These travels both reinforced and affected ongoing transformations in the Catholic Church as well as internal political scenes of Cold War-era European nation-states, from the People's Republic of Poland to the French Fourth Republic to the Federal Republic of Germany. These exchanges also contributed directly to the emergence of an international support network for Polish intellectuals who became leaders of the Solidarity trade movement and its political successors beginning in 1989.

Friday 30 Oct 13.45-15.45 Session 5